Preliminary ETL504 Thoughts

I have written before (Session 1 of 2018 if I recall correctly) about my thoughts on whether or not teacher-librarians are leaders in schools.  To summarise, no I don’t think they are.  That doesn’t mean a TL is never a leader.  It doesn’t mean that they can’t be a leader or that they shouldn’t be a leader.  It means that they generally aren’t leaders or seen as leaders.

The only content we have, at this time (apart from the subject outline) is this video.  It was produced for the Students Need School Libraries Campaign launched in October last year.

It’s propaganda.  I don’t think anyone would deny that.  It’s promoting a utopian view of what a teacher librarian can and does do.  The balance seems to be a lot of high school teacher librarians, and the experience in a high school, where the TL doesn’t usually teach, may be the reason.  The TLs in primary schools that I know of are generally just trying to keep their heads above water, trying to justify their “admin” hours above and beyond taking classes for RFF and doing playground duty.  Teacher librarians don’t have TIME for transformational leadership once the lesson preparation, marking, reporting, shelf tidying, borrowing, returning and accessioning is done.  Not to mention weeding, duties, meetings and emergency fill-ins.  It’s all well and good to say that a TL shouldn’t be used for RFF but honestly, if a school is faced with the option of having a teacher’s aide or two in classes that desperately need it, or leave the TL free of the RFF responsibility, I know which one I would choose.

I honestly think I am going to struggle with this subject because I don’t like to lie.  If I think that the research is utopian and not grounded in reality, I will say that.  I’m not pulling punches.  I could just regurgitate what we’ve been told and make a pretty little essay but I really don’t think that would achieve anything for me.  Maybe a good mark, but no real learning.

So expect dissenting opinions and (at times) snark.  Expect anecdotes and research that shows that maybe we are being fed some wishful thinking instead of the harsh realities of schools.

You’ve been warned.

One thought on “Preliminary ETL504 Thoughts

  • 6th July 2019 at 1:49 PM

    Hi Liz,

    I found your post interesting and I appreciated your honest thoughts. Having no practical experience in a library, I can often be swept up in the loveliness that is theoretical learning, without thinking of the practicalities. I think in general, this seems to be a recurring theme for those who are not ‘on the ground’ so to speak. I’m looking forward to following your journey this semester and seeing if you change your mind.


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